Labour Day ramble

My Chief Texas Correspondent, whose heart is often in the right place though he is no Catholick, has been, as so many “secular conservatives,” following Church events in the meejah, and rooting for the “conservative” side. (Alas, it is not a game like football.) He believes democracy in the Church would help: we should be able to vote the baddies out. I had to tell him that if we’d had democracy in Holy Church, she would have ceased to be Christian at least seventeen centuries ago. He asked, then, if I could tell him a plan to displace our many “progressive” bishops, including one in Rome. I told him that if I had a plan, I wouldn’t put it in email.

But, seriously, he writes: “You and your cohorts better start working on one, cuz you can bet Francis and his cohorts are scheming up a plan for how to weather the storm. They aren’t sitting around the Vatican just hoping and praying.”

To which I reply:

I don’t doubt they are, and we’re not. But in my considered opinion, the other side has reckoned without Jesus, and will discover that was a serious oversight, over time.

Stalin used to ask mockingly how many divisions does the pope have? A progressive pope might be thinking, how many bishops do the Traddies have? Some, not many. One might be enough, as we were recently reminded, by a certain outspoken Monsignor. (Carlo Maria Viganò.)

From a genuinely Catholick view, I believe, it’s not even bishops, who as you know are always male. I think of Catherine of Siena (who died age 33 in 1380, happily enough on my birthday). She single-handedly brought the papacy home from Avignon to Rome, and in so doing, helped clean the place up, exerting a huge influence on the subsequent history of Europe thereby. How did she do it? Mainly by putting the fear of Hell into people. You see, she was a Saint. And people who’d met her came to realize this.

God doesn’t intervene in history directly. He gave us freedom, with all the catastrophes that followed from that. He does, however, work through human agents, some good some bad; if He didn’t we’d no longer be here. But principally He operates through Saints. … (Nobody expects them.)

My dear CTC, I don’t expect you to believe this for a moment. But I do. As a modern person, of the “conservative” tendency, you believe more in politics and economic forces. This is Marxism Lite, and it is everywhere — worse than any bishop I can imagine, because it cripples all thought.

And understandably, from their common premisses, both sides seek material solutions for material problems. This would make perfect sense if the problems were all material, but every one of them has spiritual ramifications, and by ignoring those, we go blind.


It is Labour Day, our North American celebration of Work.

As an Idler I must speak plainly: work is good. It keeps us alive, at so many levels. My opposition is only to “fake” work, which accomplishes nothing worth having. Alas, most of our economic work is like that: making things nobody needs, and which in the balance are bad for us. Too, philosophical Leisure is important, including the work that consists of sleeping on problems. It helps, before work, to think what one is doing. God, I should think, designs and builds in a single operation; we must do things one at a time.

Moreover, thanks to “progressivism” and “conservatism,” we have come to forget that Prayer is good work; that Contemplation is, likewise; that so are acts of the purest unpaid and unrecognized charity, which will never show in our GDP; that Beauty is the hidden solution, which, if we don’t think, we will never find. For cause and effect do not operate on the material plane, only.

Leisure is crucial to good work. We must find more time in our busy schedules to do nothing; to be Silent; to consult not only with our friends but with our Maker.